Can Cockatiels Eat Cheese? (6 Types of Cheese and Feeding Risks You Need to Know)

Cockatiels can eat cheese, yes. Cheese is not a toxic food for cockatiels, and they can eat a small amount without having any issues. Still, cheese is one of the foods that you should only give in small amounts. Cheese contains lactose, a component that your cockatiel may find difficult to digest. As long as you feed cheese that is low in lactose and small bites, it should be fine.

Cheese is a dairy product. Thus, it shouldn’t form a big part of your cockatiel’s diet. 

However, since it’s not a toxic food for these animals, sharing a little amount won’t harm them.

Before feeding cheese to your pet, you may want to read more details about it. 

Below, I tackled most kinds of cheese you may find available for your pet. Make sure the cheese you offer isn’t harmful before feeding. 

Let’s get into it more!

Is cheese safe for cockatiels?

Cheese does not belong to the list of toxic food, but it doesn’t mean it is entirely safe for cockatiels to eat.

Like other birds, cockatiels lack the enzymes that break down the lactose. For this reason, foods that contain lactose can make digestion difficult for our pets.

Cheese, like other dairy products, have lactose, which is a form of sugar. Unlike other animals, birds are lactose intolerant.

For this reason, dairy products can cause digestive problems if they consume too much.

As I said, if you want to offer some cheese, your best bet would be the types that have low lactose content. These are parmesan, swiss, or cheddar.

To give you more detailed information, I made the following list of cheese you may think of giving.

Mozzarella cheese

Cockatiels should never eat mozzarella cheese, as it is the type of cheese that can harm your pet the most.

This type of cheese may be low in lactose. Nevertheless, you should avoid feeding such at all costs.

The reason is that mozzarella has that soft and gummy texture. With such a characteristic, it can clog the intestines, resulting in a quick death.

Thus, avoid feeding mozzarella and other food with this type of cheese in it.

Cheddar cheese

If you opt for cheddar cheese, your best bet would be mild instead of the regular. 

At the same time, always be mindful of offering cheddar cheese in moderation, like all other cheese.

Cheddar cheese is also low in lactose. Still, it has a high sodium content, which is not ideal for birds like cockatiels.

You can offer it as a treat in a minimal amount, but it should not be something your pet will snack on all the time.

Parmesan cheese

One of the types of cheese that may be ideal for your bird is parmesan. This cheese has a shallow lactose content. 

For this reason, most people who are lactose intolerant consider this cheese as an option. It can be the same for your pet bird.

Parmesan cheese is best if you add it as a flavor to other food for your cockatiel.

You can mix it with other fruits and vegetables, ideally grated and topped in the fruits.

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Swiss cheese

Swiss cheese is another type suited for lactose-intolerant people. Thus, it can be an excellent option for your cockatiel as well. 

This cheese only contains little amounts of lactose. Further, it has that hard texture, making it an ideal snack for your cockatiels to peck.

Like cheddar, however, swiss cheese is also high in sodium. Thus, always make sure to feed it in small amounts only.

Cottage cheese

Cottage cheese is not an excellent option for your cockatiel. This type of cheese is generally high in lactose, which can make your pet sick.

Further, aside from lactose, cottage cheese contains a high amount of sodium. For this reason, it would be best to skip cottage cheese in your cheese to offer.

String cheese

Like mozzarella, string cheese has that soft and gummy texture. For this reason, you should consider this cheese as a huge red flag for your cockatiel.

As a general rule of thumb, always consider cheese as a treat you can only offer in a few bits and pieces.

Cheese may not be entirely toxic, but it isn’t also altogether safe either. For this reason, your pet shouldn’t eat more cheese than a regular snack it takes. 

Whenever you are giving cheese, it would be best to limit it at least once or twice a week, and in small amounts only.

How much cheese can cockatiels eat?


Unlike other snacks, cheese is only safe in small amounts. Thus, it shouldn’t make up more than 10% of your pet’s daily meals.

Other snacks such as seeds, nuts, and fruits won’t harm if cockatiels eat more than the proper amount.

On the other hand, cheese can cause issues if fed more than the right amount. For this reason, you should be extra careful when it comes to cheese.

Fruits and snacks should only serve as treats and not a part of their meal. For this reason, snacks and treats should only make up 10% or less of their meals.

Since this food can harm your pet, you should limit your pet’s cheese intake to less than the average snacks. 

In general, cockatiels should eat 30-40 grams of food per day. Thus, you should limit cheese to less than 3-4 grams per day. In general, you can give a couple of bites, but not more than that.

Like all other birds and animals, cockatiels should have a balanced diet of a few things.

The most significant percentage should be pellets, making up a total of 60% of their daily diet. The remaining 30% should be for vegetables like carrots and fruits like grapes or raisins.

The key to a good diet is always balance. For this reason, you should limit feeding cheese to once or twice a week.

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Risks of feeding your cockatiel cheese

As I said, you should be aware of the risks before feeding cheese to your cockatiel. Take some time to read the following. It can help you be mindful of providing cheese to your pet.

Too much cheese can cause an upset stomach.

Cheese is safe for cockatiels in small bites. As long as you don’t overfeed your pet with cheese, it shouldn’t cause any issues.

However, if you do, the lactose and sodium in cheese can take a toll on your pet and compromise its health. In particular, your pet’s digestive tract can get damaged. 

The lactose in cheese is difficult to digest.

Cheese and other dairy products contain lactose, which is a form of sugar.

As I said, birds aren’t like other animals, which have a strong tolerance for lactose. Thus, it would be best to feed too much cheese to prevent digestive issues from too much lactose.

Sodium in cheese can be harmful.

Aside from lactose, most cheeses have high amounts of sodium. It’s the component that makes cheese an excellent side snack along with crackers and bread.

While sodium makes cheese great for us, it is a huge red flag for our pets. Thus, it would be best if you lessened your pet’s sodium intake by limiting cheese treats.

Do cockatiels like eating cheese?

Cockatiels may like cheese, but it doesn’t mean they can eat as much as they want. 

As a pet owner, I won’t recommend you feeding cheese to your cockatiel regularly.

Doing so would compromise your pet’s health in many ways. To ensure your pet’s safety, limit cheese into treats, and only in small amounts.

Can other birds eat cheese?

Aside from cockatiels, other birds can eat cheese. However, it’s also not entirely safe for them.

If you have other pet birds aside from cockatiels, you can offer some cheese treats as well. 

However, it would be best to offer the same small amount as the ones for your cockatiel.

It would ensure that your pet eats only the right amount and stays safe from components that can harm them.

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Cockatiels can eat cheese, but only in small amounts. Cheese contains a lot of lactose and sodium. Both components aren’t suitable for these animals, especially in large quantities.

If you wish to feed cheese, you opt for the ones with low lactose and sodium content.

In general, it would be best to switch to other snacks such as nuts, fruits, and seeds. Be mindful of feeding snacks only in small amounts, as cockatiels need a balanced diet like us.


Image Credits:

  • Photo by Lena Kudryavtseva on Unsplash
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